US confirms first case of rare disease that spread in Europe — Analysis

After traveling to Canada, a Massachusetts man was diagnosed with monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed this Wednesday. 

While the agencies are working with the man’s healthcare providers and local health boards to identify anyone who had contact with him, they insist his case poses no risk to the public, and he is reportedly hospitalized and in good condition. 

This is the first case to be reported in the US in this year’s US. It follows an alert issued by Spanish authorities about a possible epidemic in Madrid. While typically spread by respiratory transmission, a spokesperson for Madrid’s regional health department suggested the local outbreak was driven by “fluid contact,” noting that eight of the suspected cases were found in gay men.

This week in Lisbon, 20 monkeypox cases were reported by young Portuguese men. Similar cases in the UK have also been confirmed. Fourteen of seven confirmed cases in the UK were among gay and bisexual men. The first was a case that involved someone who recently traveled to Nigeria.

Rare disease spreads in Europe

The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to smallpox which was eradicated in 1980. It also shares similarities with chickenpox. This is a common childhood infection. The symptoms include fever and muscle pains, headaches, and swelling of lymph nodes. A rash then forms on the skin and spreads to other parts of the body. Although it can be fatal, the symptoms are usually mild. Most people recover in a few weeks. 

There are two types of monkeypox: a West African and central African variant. Current cases seem to be milder of the west African type. In the United States, monkeypox was diagnosed in two people who recently visited Nigeria.

This virus can be spread easily by contact with bodily fluids, sores, clothing contaminated with the virus, and prolonged contact between people, which leads to respiratory dropslet exchange. 

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